Monday, March 31, 2008

Another GREAT Class!!

We held another GREAT class Saturday - my thanks to all those that attended. It was a very good group, and as always, I'm humbled by your ability to find new shots. The work produced Saturday was top notch, and starting tomorrow (big project almost done), I'll begin posting this classes work. Stay tuned!

NEXT CLASS: May 17th!!!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Cool Time Lapse From dSLR

I found a very cool article and subsequent video over at the Digital Photography School, of a time lapse made from still images taken with a dSLR camera. The write-up tells you all about the tools and techniques, but you've got to see the video. You can find a link to it in the article posted here.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Well I'm happy!

As you know, I took a group to Richmond this week for Dave Cross' photoshop tour, well, because it's reviewed right below this post!

Anyway, I've been on the road the remainder of the week learning more photoshop tricks and acquiring more classes. Well this morning I'm catching up on my emails and blogs and was very excited to find that we got mentioned on my heroes site!

Yup, the great Scott Kelby himself made a small mention of us on his blog today. See it here.

And *that* has made my day. Now, if I can just meet this guy....

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Dave Cross in Richmond, VA

400+ of Dave's closest friends (for one day at least!)

Dave ponders a students question during one of the breaks.

Should you attend Dave Cross' Maximum Adobe Photoshop CS3 Tour?

I can answer that question in one of two ways: "Theoretically" and "It Depends..."
(Class joke - you'll know when you go)

Actually, I can answer with just one, it depends...

Do you want to have a great time, with a genuinely nice guy, who has a great sense of humor, and oh yeah - is a freaking master of all things photoshop? Well, then - the answer is yes!

The class was held in the very nice Greater Richmond Convention Center. The lobby was represented with Kelby Training, NAPP (shockers), Drobo, onOne, B&H Photo, and another software vendor selling templates and such, but I forget who. I was a little disappointed with this part of the tour this year, as there were not as many vendors - nor as many good deals as there has been in the past. But, NAPP was still offering their usual kick butt discount on books, DVDs and membership renewals! You should attend one a year just for the renewal discounts!

Pre-show, Dave was kind enough to let me chat him up on various topics and listened and conversed like we were old friends. Something I very much appreciated. It's nice when one of your heroes turns out to be a nice guy too!

As always when I attend these things - it began right on time. The first session was all about 7 (actually 8) things you never use in Photoshop - but should. I took a couple of my students with me, and one of them commented on the first break that if he had to leave right now, he felt like he got his monies worth off the first session. This guy's no newbie either - so that should tell you how good the first session is alone.

Session Two was all about selection secrets - or as Dave said, how to make really good selections. Which tool to use when and what steps to take after that. The hardest part of making any selection is getting started and Dave took most of the mystery out of that. Great explanations and demonstrations of all the selection tools and some undocumented tips on using the tools too!

Session Three was all about fixes to common Photoshop Problems. Or as Dave put it, "What to do when you get this from a client - 'Can you use Photoshop to just...'". I learned a very cool find middle gray trick, and colorizing tricks that fed nicely off the Selection Secrets of Session Two. There was much other coolness about fixing some common issues that are really tricky to fix.

Session Four addressed avoiding common gotchas in using Photoshop. The ole jump right in and paint yourself in the corner trick we all do from time to time. Also, as a fellow Photoshop instructor, I picked up some valuable tricks on how to maintain my classroom computers that suffer semester after semester and class after class abuse from the students. There were also cool techniques to "think" your way through using Photoshop.

The last session of the day was all about Working Smarter, and really - who doesn't want to do that? There were some really cool techniques for those not too brain fried to comprehend. Dave did a GREAT session on Variables - something I had seen, but surely never used or experimented with and I sat mouth gapped open as he demonstrated a technique in seconds that I recently spent a several days accomplishing the same thing! That's when I turned and told my students "If that's all Dave said today - I got my monies worth too!"

The day wrapped with door prize giveaways, and we hung around as Dave once again was gracious enough to pose for some pictures with us. Did I mention he's a great guy?!?

So in all seriousness, get yourself out to these seminars when they pass through town. We drove over two hours to get there and would have gone further. This is how you stay on top on your game in Photoshop. Even when you know some of the things being presented, he might mention a technique or present it in a way you haven't seen before that sheds light on ten other things you've been struggling with. Dave was almost apologetic explaining that this was only his second time teaching this course (the first one he developed by himself) - well you'd have never known it. "All ya'll" would have been impressed with this tour stop! Way to go Dave - see ya next year!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Photoshop Disasters

Want to see what happens when Photoshop retouching goes bad? You’ll get a kick of out “Photoshop Disasters.” Worth a quick visit to start your St. Patty’s with a smile (here’s the link).

Friday, March 14, 2008

Can Anyone Add Anything New On How To Hold A Camera?

Yes, maybe. If his name is happen to be Joe McNally. It’s only for left eyed shooters but it’s so cool it might be worth to switch. (BTW, I have a cool technique for determining which eye you should shoot with I'll try and explain next week.) Watch his video above

P.S. Sorry for the long absence this week as I have been laid up with a severe case of Strep Throat. All better now, thanks for asking! Have a great weekend folks!

Monday, March 10, 2008

If You Don't Print At Home

Those of you who know me, know that I do a lot of my own in-house prints (I have an HP Photosmart Pro B9180), but I also send out some work to different labs (mostly wedding albums, photo books, etc.), and for those I’ve been using a number of different vendors, but I get emails all the time asking me which lab I recommend.

I've ordered several things from, and have always been pleased with the results. I shot a picture of one of my grandfather's truckline trucks for my brother's Christmas, and ordered a 30″x20″ print in a Sepia Tone. Man, it was the talk of Christmas. I'd have a hard time telling you how stunning they came out!

I noticed this week that Scott Kelby posted that he and his PhotoshopUserTV buddies (Matt Kloskowski and Dave Cross) have all switched to Mpix now, too, and now they’re already becoming metallic print junkies.

To quote Kelby, "Mpix is a pro lab, if you’re an advanced amateur, they will let you use their lab as well." Actually, Mpix is the other side of Miller's Lab - which is one of the biggest professional labs in the US, and Mpix was created to handle the rest of us. ;-)

Friday, March 7, 2008

New Adobe Add for CS3

This is pretty cool! It's the new Adobe add for Creative Suite 3 made entirely from the products in CS3. It's a good way to wrap up the week. Take a peek here!

I'm also looking at setting days for the blog, for example "Introduction Monday" where I introduce a new photographer - or "Technique Tuesday" where I share a photography or Photoshop trick. What do you think? Send me your suggestions.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Have fun guys!

Direct Daniella - This is a really clever little site. Basically, you go to this website and do a live photo shoot of a model (Daniella). It’s something done in conjunction with a contest for Taco Bell but I think it’s a really clever idea. You’d think we’re all above this but I found myself shooting just about every location they offer. In keeping with full discloser, the model is a world famous bikini model so the male population will undoubtedly find this more amusing, but that aside I think it’s just fun. Sorry ladies, there doesn’t appear to be a “Direct Dan” website coming any time soon. Anyway, here’s the link.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I've Been Preaching This for Years!

Why More MegaPixels Ain't Always the Answer!

For digital SLR owners, the megapixel war is over. For most people, who shoot snapshots and get prints from the local drug store or Wal-Mart - anything over 4 megapixels is a waste. Six megapixel is the magic number for most consumers who want “big prints” (ie. 8×10) and ten megapixel is the magic number for publication. Anything more is gravy.

Much more, and you could be running into alternate problems. When you cram more pixels onto a sensor of the same size, you’re making the pixels smaller, and smaller pixels have less capacity to handle light.

Think of sensors as a field of buckets. Light is rain, and when it rains, the buckets fill up with water. Bigger buckets can handle more water before they start spilling over than smaller ones. When water spills over, you get digital noise.

The new digital SLR war is in the realm of noise, and more accurately, the cameras ability to handle noise at higher ISO sensitivities. What good is a 20 or 30 megapixel camera if the pictures you take at ISO 1000 are noisy to the point of being unusable? That’s why a large format sensor is typically a better noise handler, and why cameras will more megapixels are generally not able to contain noise as well as their lower megapixel brethern.

So don't let the sales guy talk you into more megapixels...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

10 Places to Shoot Before You Die

Jeff Revell had a very neat post the other day and I'm stealing it for conversation here.

I was making my usual blog run today when I saw an interesting post over at the Photoprenuer. The article was entitled 12 Things to Photograph Before You Die. While I didn’t necessarily agree with all of their shot selections, it did make me think of a before I die list that I will share with you.

I have this list of places that I would love to shoot before I cash it in. Sure, I have more than 10 places where I wouldn’t mind shooting, but I thought these are my 10 must shoot spots, and being 10 instead of 1000 means I might actually achieve this goal.

So in 2006, with my backpack and camera bag, I headed off to #1 on my top 10, The Angkor ruins of Cambodia.


#2 - There are so many spectacular location in the United States but the upper regions of Arizona with the likes of Monument Valley, Antelope Slots, the Grand Canyon, and the Wave just had to be in my top 10. In the summer of 2007 I got to happily check this one off my list.

The Wave

#3 This one is already planned for April. The week after Photoshop World, I will be heading out with some buddies to Dubai. I didn’t necessarily have Dubai on the list specifically but some of the locations aren’t specific to a location but more to a region. This one will definitely take care of my Middle East requirement. I have been to Israel but it was for work and I never really got to do much shooting while I was there. That won’t be the case in Dubai. This is strictly a shooting affair.

Photo By : Lars Plougmann

Photo By : Lars Plougmann

#4 was actually supposed to be my #2 but I just couldn’t get the planets to line up for me so it has dropped to a future destination. With 7 of the World’s highest mountain peaks in the country, Nepal is still very high on my list. I am hopeful that the political situation will improve in the near future so that I will be able to enjy the entire country.


photo taken by Kogo

#5 is also in the Far East. This almost qualifies as a region because it would take a thousand lifetimes to cover this country although there are a couple of spots I would visit first, mainly any portion of the Great Wall. But I think anywhere in China would be amazing!

Great Wall of China

#6 With such majestic sites as Half Dome, El Capitan, and Cathedral Lake, Yosemite National Park has to be one of the most spectacular natural wonders in the World. Is there any wonder why it was a favorite of Ansel Adams? If it’s good enough for Ansel, it’s good enough for me.

Yosemite National Park


#7 With its lofty heights, lush surroundings, and mysterious Incan history, Machu Picchu is one of those places that could keep me shooting from sun up to sundown. It’s also one of those places that makes it easy to take great pictures. There are just some locations that are set up that way and this is one of them.

Machu Picchu, Peru

#8 Although I already have some tall mountains covered by Nepal, it wouldn’t be right to leave off the highest mountain in the US, besides, there’s more to Alaska than just Mt. McKinley. Alaska is probably one of the last great frontiers left in the World and is another one of those places that could qualify as a region because of its size and variety of landscape possibilities.

Mt. McKinley, Ak

Image by Nic McPhee

#9 This is my wife’s favorite place in the World and yet I have not managed to get there yet. I am hopeful that I will be able to knock this one off soon. With its beautiful colonial Spanish architecture and lush scenery, Antigua, Guatemala is one of the most beautiful Central American cities there is. Not to mention that it has three volcanoes. Now how cool is that?


#10 I have always been fascinated by the countryside of my last location, ever since I saw John Wayne saunter across it in The Quiet Man. Ireland is just one of those places that has always captivated me with its rolling green hills and stone fences, not to mention a fee castles and remnants from its stone age inhabitants.

Lough Leane, Ireland

Image by Christophe Meneboeuf

There is actually a theme that runs through almost all of my locations.They either are, or contain UNESCO World Heritage sites. These sites have been identified by the UNESCO governing body for World heritage sites as having cultural or natural significance and need to be preserved for future generations. One of the reasons I began my World trek was an article in Men’s Journal called Places to see before they are gone. On that list was the Angkor Temples. I had first dreamed of going to Cambodia to see Angkor Wat after reading an article in the Smithsonian magazine a year earlier. It was that Men’s Journal magazine that really lit my fire and after traveling the Cambodian countryside, I knew that I needed to see and shoot some of the other places in this World that have always fascinated me, especially those that may not be around forever.

So that’s my list.

Do you have one?

The clock is ticking, what are you waiting for?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Good Deal Bonus Post

For the bargain hunters out there, Dury's had their Sandisk 1 gig cards on clearance again for only $29 for two - quite the deal. Here is the Dury's link for more info.

Photoshop Links You Should Visit

So here is a list of 36 sites I have compiled over the last few months that have lots of great Photoshop info, tips, tutorials, brushes, actions, and more. These are not in any particular order so just start clicking and enjoy! If you have some good sites that you would like to add to the list, including your own, please leave it in a comment so everyone can benefit.

National Association of Photoshop Professionals

PhotoshopUser TV

Vintage Photoshop TV/Radio You have to check this one out

Layers Magazine


Photoshop Killer Tips

Planet Photoshop

Photoshop Roadmap

Absolute Cross

Photoshop Tips & Tricks

Photoshop Support.Com

Team Photoshop

Free Photoshop


Living Photoshop - Scott Byer’s Blog

Photoshop Tutorials


Photoshop Star

Photoshop Insider

John Nack on Adobe

PS Brushes

Photoshop Ninja

Photoshop Tutorials Blog

Photoshop Quicktips

Photoshop Mosaic


Photoshop Talent

Peachpit: Photoshop Reference

Photoshop Lab



Photoshop Candy

Photoshop Diva

Photoshop Facelift


Forensic Photoshop